Brady: Full budget plan will come after election

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

SPRINGFIELD -- Republican Bill Brady said Tuesday he won't be able to offer a detailed plan for balancing Illinois' crumbling budget until after he becomes governor.

Brady has made the budget crisis a major part of his campaign, accusing Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn of mismanagement and spending money the state doesn't have. He promises to cut spending by 10 percent.

A 10 percent reduction would amount to about $2.6 billion of the state's roughly $13 billion deficit. Brady hasn't said which government programs would be on the chopping block or spelled out how he'd deal with the rest of the shortfall.

Brady, a state legislator for 15 years, said specifics will have to wait until he is elected and can go over the budget with a team of experts.

"That's what we're going to hire professionals to tell us," he said. "I don't have the professionals in place to fully analyze the highest priorities."

Quinn has accused Brady of lacking the courage to present a full budget plan. His campaign said Tuesday that voters deserve to know more.

"Today, Sen. Brady told the voters you don't need to know the details, just trust me. Would you build a home if you never saw the blueprint?" said spokeswoman Mica Matsoff.

The Democratic governor has called for balancing the budget with a combination of higher income taxes, lower spending and borrowing. The Democratic-controlled Legislature has refused to go along, leaving Quinn to manage the budget by cutting costs and letting unpaid bills pile up.

Quinn has outlined $1.4 billion in spending cuts in the past few weeks, with most of the money coming from social services. His administration acknowledges that details of how those cuts will be put in place are still under discussion.

Brady made his remarks at the State Fair, where he said Illinois' estate tax should be eliminated and funding for agricultural research restored.

Ending the estate tax would cost the state about $300 million, but Brady said it would create economic activity that ultimately will more than offset that cost. The additional money for agriculture research would cost about $15 million a year, although Brady said it would be restored slowly as the economy picks up.

Brady said voters should support him even without knowing where he would cut government spending.

"What they know is that every program in state government is going to be asked to at least redefine itself by rooting out a dime in every dollar -- waste, mismanagement and fraud," he said.